February 19th, 2014
09:50 AM ET
10 months ago

Spanking bill in Kansas sparks controversy

(CNN) - A Kansas state lawmaker says a bill she's introduced that would give school teachers and caregivers expanded rights to spank children is not "intended to legalize child abuse."

Democratic state representative Gail Finney of Wichita put out a statement Tuesday after media stories about her legislation, which would expand on current Kansas law by allowing teachers and caregivers to spank children up to 10 times, possibly causing redness and bruising.

The legislation specifically would allow for spankings "up to ten forceful applications in succession of a bare, open-hand palm against the clothed buttocks of a child and any such reasonable physical force on the child as may be necessary to hold, restrain or control the child in the course of maintaining authority over the child, acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result."

In her statement, Finney said that "Parental corporal discipline in Kansas, along with 49 other states, has always been permitted. Unfortunately, Kansas has never affirmatively, expressly defined corporal discipline in Kansas statute, leaving the interpretation of that matter to administrative officials in the executive branch, law enforcement personnel, and the judicial branch."

Finney went on to write that her bill "is intended to (i) provide guidance to state officials in the administrative and judicial branches; (ii) serve as a guideline to parents; and (iii) protect Kansas children from abuse."

Some in Kansas are voicing opposition to the bill.

"Twenty, 30 years ago, we didn't sit in car seats, and we do now. So maybe they did spank or were spanked as a child, but now we have research that shows it is less effective than time out. It tends to lead to more aggressive behavior with a child," pediatric nurse practitioner Amy Terreros, a child abuse expert at Children's Mercy Hospital, told CNN affiliate KCTV in Kansas City, Missouri.

Rep. John Rubin, chairman of the Kansas House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee, said he isn't sure the committee will consider the bill, according to KCTV.


Filed under: Kansas
soundoff (547 Responses)
  1. Cooper

    just like it was with my daughter, you touch my grandson, you lose your hand

    February 19, 2014 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  2. w5cdt

    In my high school you had to stay after school if you were late to class. Or you could get licks. The guys usually took the licks because it was better than missing your ride home. :-)

    February 19, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    -Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Hey RS, do you know how to read???
    "Democratic state representative Gail Finney of Wichita put out a statement Tuesday"
    She is a democrat NOT a repub, you are such a partisan hack you can even identify what party the individual belongs to, you simply assume if you don't agree with it it must be from the GOP. Sad thing is, this doesn’t surprise me a bit, get a clue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    **************
    I gather you did not see the comment rs made admitting he/she made a mistake, and essentially agreed with much of what you are saying.
    -----------------Nope they totally missed that in their haste to....
    And we were all doing so well sharing our commonality and human experiences.....
    Oh well...
    ******************
    Well, how ironic the comment about being a partisan hack was , in light of this person's haste to use it without checking a little more. Oh well, people will be, well, people.

    February 19, 2014 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Nathan

    Any teacher that strikes my kid is going to end up with a mouth full of teeth.

    February 19, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Tony D

    Anonymous
    I found this odd coming from a Democrat. Then I looked her up and found her to be Black. The black community's acceptance of abuse comes from slavery.
    --

    Wow.... so you are saying that violence is now part of the DNA structure of blacks because of slavery? Hmmm... there are a lot of them in jail and a lot of inner cities are very violent places. You might be on to something here. So should all blacks than assault people be excused because of something that happened to other people hundreds of years ago? Or should the government fund research to find this violence strand of DNA so that it can be removed or negated?

    February 19, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Concerned Educator, Mississippi

    For those of you who think corporal punishment is just harmful and no one can discipline your child(ren), keep your disrespectful, no home training, brat(s) at home and educate them yourself.

    February 19, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. margyf1

    People from Kansas are about as stupid as they come. This is nothing short of child abuse. The parents and teachers should be held accountable for beating the crap out of any child. People are not allowed to hit wives or animals. What makes them think they can hit an innocent child. There is enough violenence in this world. The morons that engage in this violent act need to serve time in jail period.

    February 19, 2014 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Gene

    I think the state of Kansas has gone nuts.! Who in heavens name are they electing as their representatives? ? This idiot woman wants to allow a teacher to be able to hit a child TEN times realizing that it could be violent enough to bruise the child. Anyone who would bruise my child would see me and my attorney ! . No stranger is going to hit my child!, if a teacher is having a problem, call the parents and discuss it with them. There are many ways a school can discipline without hitting, the days of the wooden paddle are long gone, thank goodness.

    February 19, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ James:

    "Do your job at home and you won't have to worry about it. Don't be the one who neglects disciplining their child at home then look at a teacher and blame them for your lack of parenting."

    Well stated, James.

    February 19, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. margyf1

    Children learn how to become so called brats from their dysfunction parents who never should have had children in the first place.

    February 19, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Robin Dinsmore

    Physical abuse of any kind is totally uncalled for. Child and Adult Caregiver/Teacher Both Need a Time Out to be Enforced and then followed up with discussing the issue at at hand.

    February 19, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    @ tom l
    Something I wholly agree with you on ...Depressing. And here I thought we had a moment.
    -------------------------------------------------
    You misunderstood my last post tom l. And I apologize for not being clear in what I was trying to communicate.
    We were in complete agreement you, Tom Paine, and I.
    I was just clarifying that my post was in response to a comment made by Tom Paine and NOT that I was quoting Tom Paine as he stated in his subsequent post.
    That was all babe!
    We DID have a moment tom l....and it actually felt pretty good.

    February 19, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. ShawnDH

    Kansas is disgusting. It's a black hole of oppression, religious fanaticism and child abuse.

    February 19, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Nathan

    Any teacher that strikes my kid is going to end up with a mouth full of teeth.
    ---------------------------------
    This I gotta see. I've heard of knocking teeth out, but never knocking them in before.

    February 19, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. sherman

    Kansas – over on the bench with France. Lord love a duck, what's next?

    February 19, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child

    SOME kids need to be given the proper discipline by their parents. Some respond to verbal correction, some simply do not and will always push beyond the limits. One size does not fit all, as all kids are different.

    The fear of God (aka the Wrath of Dad) must always be in the back of the brain (especially of boys) in order to correct the immature and undeveloped thought process of children. Their first thought must be, will Dad be mad or will he kill me if I do this. Fearing teachers or the law should be the least of a child's fear for bad behavior.

    Unfortunately, there are far too many situations where there is no Dad and mother's many times cannot handle strict discipline, especially once boys get older/bigger.

    February 19, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. TONE

    Dominican mama 4 Obama

    They sure do my sister.

    February 19, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Sarah

    Any teacher or caregiver who laid a hand on my children would have another thing coming. I discipline my children how I see fit and it is not for others to take action for me.

    February 19, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. JMorcan

    The first teacher who does that to my child will need hospitalization. Man or woman, you are now forewarned.

    February 19, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Horus

    Do unto MY children what you will have ME do unto you.

    February 19, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. The Real Tom Paine

    -Tony D

    Anonymous
    I found this odd coming from a Democrat. Then I looked her up and found her to be Black. The black community's acceptance of abuse comes from slavery.
    -

    Wow.... so you are saying that violence is now part of the DNA structure of blacks because of slavery? Hmmm... there are a lot of them in jail and a lot of inner cities are very violent places. You might be on to something here. So should all blacks than assault people be excused because of something that happened to other people hundreds of years ago? Or should the government fund research to find this violence strand of DNA so that it can be removed or negated?
    *************
    Regardless of whether or not anon is implying its genetic or cultural, this is an appalling assumption. My ethnicity is Scottish, but I don't have an overwhelming desire to play bagpipes, toss cabers, or skin horse thieves alive like my ancestors did. It shows the kind of ignorant, sloppy thinking that ideologically-driven people engage in because its easier than trying to examine something or someone on the merits. Appalling.

    February 19, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. oaksavanna

    any such reasonable physical force on the child as may be necessary to hold, restrain or control the child in the course of maintaining authority over the child, acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result."

    My question is who decides what is reasonable and how much redness and bruising is okay?

    February 19, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Old_Hippie

    OK, yes she is a Democrat but she is also from Kansas. Enough said.

    February 19, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. oaksavanna

    "any such reasonable physical force on the child as may be necessary to hold, restrain or control the child in the course of maintaining authority over the child, acknowledging that redness or bruising may occur on the tender skin of a child as a result."

    So who gets to decide what is REASONABLE and what is too much redness and bruising?

    February 19, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Real Tom Paine
    Well, how ironic the comment about being a partisan hack was , in light of this person's haste to use it without checking a little more. Oh well, people will be, well, people.
    -------------------------------------------------
    I know...my little bonding moment with tom l went out the window because he misunderstood my post.
    I think that we tend to fall back to "type" so to speak with each other.
    We refuse to believe that more binds us as humans with common experiences, needs, and wants than what divides us across imaginary Party lines, where no one but the Parties profit.
    Stop the partisanship. Stop the hate.

    February 19, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
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